Although not part of a discussion on picking cable types for horizontal cable, the subject of patch cords should be addressed. Patch cables (or patch cords) are the cables that are used to connect 110-type connecting blocks, patch-panel ports, or telecommunication outlets (wall-plate outlets) to network equipment or telephones.
We’ve mentioned this before but it deserves repeating that you should purchase factory-made patch cables. Patch cables are a critical part of the link between a network device (such as a PC) and the network equipment (such as a hub). Determining appropriate transmission requirements and testing methodology for patch cords was one of the holdups in completing the ANSI/TIA/EIA-568B, 2-1 Category 6 specification. Low-quality, poorly made, and damaged patch cables very frequently contribute to network problems. Often the patch cable is considered the weakest link in the structured cabling system. Poorly made patch cables will contribute to attenuation loss and increased crosstalk.
Factory-made patch cables are constructed using exacting and controlled circumstances to assure reliable and consistent transmission-performance parameters. These patch cables are tested and guaranteed to perform correctly.
Patch cables are made of stranded-conductor cable to give them additional flexibility. However, stranded cable has up to 20 percent higher attenuation values than solid-conductor cable, so lengths should be kept to a minimum. The ANSI/TIA-568-C standard allows for a 5-meter（16′）maximum-length patch cable in the wiring closet and a 5-meter（16′）maximum-length patch cable at the workstation area.
Here are some suggestions to consider when purchasing patch cables.
1. Don’t make them yourself. Many problems result from bad patch cables.
2. Choose the correct category for the performance level you want to achieve.
3. Make sure the patch cables you purchase use stranded conductors for increased flexibility.
4. Purchase a variety of lengths and make sure you have a few extra of each length.
5. Cosider purchasing patch cords from the same manufacture that makes the cable and connecting hardware, or from manufacturers who have teamed up to provide compatible cable, patch cords, and connecting hardware. Many manufacturers are a part of such alliances.
6. Consider color-coding your patch cords in the telecommunication closet. Here’s an example:
- Blue cords for workstations
- Gray cords for voice
- Red cords for servers
- Green cords for hub-to-hub connections
- Yellow for other types of connections
The patch cables talked about in this article are Ethernet patch cords which are used for copper cabling. In fact, these small tips are also suitable for fiber optic cabling to choose the right fiber optic patch cords. As a largest manufacturer of cables, FOCC provides not only fiber patch cables, but also copper patch cables and bulk fiber cables all over the world. Here you can also purchase the best and cheapest MPO fiber cable, MTP to fiber cassette, etc..